Published: 30 May 2016

Number of families continues to grow slightly

According to Statistics Finland's data, there were 1,475,000 families in Finland at the end of 2015. The number has grown by 1,700 families from the previous year. Even though the number of all families has grown slightly, the number of families with underage children has decreased. This mainly indicates that the age group of children coming of age is larger than the new age groups being born. There were 571,000 families with underage children. A family with underage children has at least one child under the age of 18 living at home. All in all, the changes in the numbers of families are very small on an annual level.

Families by type in 1992–2015

Families by type in 1992–2015
1) Incl. registered partnership since 2002.

Number of families with a married couple and children is falling further

Sixty-five per cent of all families were families of married couples. The number of families with a married couple and children has decreased by close on six thousand families. The numbers of other family types have, however, grown that much that the number of all families is still growing.

Nine out of ten families with a married couple and children at the end of 2014 still remained a family with a married couple and children at the end of 2015. During 2015, the family type of one-tenth of families with a married couple and children changed. Around 30 000 new families with married couple and children were formed.

Twenty-three per cent were families of cohabiting couples and 12 per cent were one-parent families. There were 2,600 families of registered same-sex couples. People living alone numbered 1,112,000.

The average size of a family was 2.8. As late as in 1990, the average size was three persons. Altogether 74 per cent of the Finnish population, or 4,081,000 persons, belonged to a family. The share of persons who belong to a family has been falling steadily. As late as in 1990, their share of the population was still 82 per cent.

The share of families with underage children in all families decreases further

The number of families with underage children, 571,000, decreased by 2,100 families from the year before. The number has been falling slowly over the past ten years. Forty per cent of the population belonged to a family with children. The commonest family type, which 60 per cent of the families with children belong to, continued to be a married couple with children. Nineteen per cent of the families with children were families of cohabiting couples. There were almost equally many families of a mother and children, whose share was 18 per cent. The number of families with a father and children continued to be very low, three per cent. In 600 families with children the parents were a registered same-sex couple. Many factors have an effect on the number of families with children, such as the sizes of age groups being born and those turning 18, as well as international migration.

In 2015, there were a total of 1,053,000 underage children in families with children. Forty-three per cent had one child and 39 per cent had two children. Thirteen per cent of families with underage children had three children and five per cent at least four children aged under 18. The average number of children was 1.84. The figure has remained stable, although the number of children has declined.

As a result of the lower number of births in recent years, the number of families with small children has also gone down. There were 153,000 families with children aged under three. From 2011, the number has fallen by around six thousand.

The family statistics describe the size of families in Finland at a given moment and thus do not concern with the eventual number of children in families.

Every tenth underage child lives in a reconstituted family

On average, reconstituted families have slightly more children than families with children in general. The average number of children was 2.09. Around 59 per cent of the children were brought into the family by their mother. The share has remained at the same level for a quarter century. A reconstituted family is a family with at least one child aged under 18 of just one of the parents.

At the end of 2015, there were 52,000 reconstituted families. The number of reconstituted families increased slightly compared to the previous year. Roughly one-half of the parents of the reconstituted families were cohabiting and one-half were married.

Families by type in 1990–2015

Type of
family 
1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2014 2015 Change 
2014–2015
Families 
total
1 365 341 1 382 970 1 401 963 1 426 002 1 455 073 1 473 666 1 475 335 1 669
Married 
couple
without 
children
364 452 395 953 436 019 481 209 513 889 527 238 528 539 1 301
Married 
couple
with
children
640 062 579 578 514 868 468 266 446 433 429 811 424 185 -5 626
Cohabiting 
couple
no children
123 471 135 996 160 132 180 590 195 967 211 673 215 620 3 947
Cohabiting 
couple with 
children
65 896 85 309 102 581 112 847 117 254 121 499 122 657 1 158
Mother and
children
147 297 159 063 159 432 153 024 149 651 149 668 150 274 606
Father and
children
24 161 27 071 28 931 29 238 30 278 31 342 31 452 110
Registered
male 
couple 1)
.. .. .. 398 706 991 1 023 32
Registered
female 
couple 1)
.. .. .. 430 895 1 444 1 585 141
Family 
population
4 101 922 4 093 038 4 053 850 4 037 753 4 065 168 4 084 001 4 080 544 -3 457
Population
31.12.
4 998 478 5 116 829 5 181 115 5 255 580 5 375 276 5 471 753 5 487 308 15 555
Proportion 
of family
population
82,1 80,0 78,2 76,8 75,6 74,6 74,4 -0,2
Average
size of
family
3,00 2,96 2,89 2,83 2,79 2,77 2,77 0,0
1) Families of the type “registered couple with children” numbered 626 in 2015.

Source: Families 2015, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Marjut Pietiläinen 029 551 2798, Timo Nikander 029 551 3250, info@stat.fi

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma

Publication in pdf-format (383.8 kB)

Tables

Tables in databases

Appendix tables

Figures
Quality descriptions

Updated 30.5.2016

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Families [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-3231. 2015. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 18.9.2018].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/perh/2015/perh_2015_2016-05-30_tie_001_en.html?ad=notify